Tag Archives: dark poetry

Zero Hours Contract

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

They introduced austerity for us wot ‘ad the least,
An’ while suicide was risin’ they ‘ad cheek to feast;
They stole the rights of workers til they matched the EU low,
But when us leaves the EU, what rights that’s left will go.

I lives from ‘and to mouth and I don’t know what to do
Cos I’m on a zero contract and me hours is far an’ few.
From time tuh time they calls me up an’ asks if I am free
I jump froo ‘oops to get there when the call centre calls me.

Gawd save us from the reaches of the greedy Tory scum
Who fill their plates with tasty treats an’ don’t give us a crumb.

I cancels me appointments wiv the doctor and the bank
Me pain and plans for bankrup’sy mus’ take a lower rank.
I tips me scalding slops away into me chipped-up sink
An’ run to catch a bus, cos me moped’s on the blink.

I wipes me nose and shivers in a chilly room
An’ all the time I’m on the phone me mind’s all doom and gloom.
I worry ’bout the NHS, an’ p’licin’ an’ the rest,
An’ the way that education fails at every test.

Gawd save us from the knuckles of the nasty Tory louts.
Whose silver-spoon advantages keep the riff-raff out.

I miss the last bus back an’ ‘ave to walk ‘ome in the rain,
They tells me I am lucky an’ I really can’t complain.
At least you’ve got a job, they says, but what they doesn’t see
Is that them what isn’t workin’ is better off than me.

Me mortgage isn’t paid and they say I’ll be evicted,
I can’t afford me water and a trip to court’s predicted.
I buy short-dated bacon, and the filthy lower brands
But the council tax is owin’, and I’m gettin’ red demands.

Gawd save us from the bludgeons of the bastard Tory bunch
We subsists on wat’ry soup while they eats steak for lunch.

I’ve only got one light bulb and me oven’s up the creek,
There’s water on me lino ‘cos a pipe has sprung a leak.
Me central ‘eating’s buggered and me bum is blue from cold
I’d go an’ sell me body, ‘cept me mirror says I’m old.

The work’ouses is gone, so that only leaves the street
An’ beggin’ for the stinkin’ rich to give us scraps to eat.
If they ha’n’t taken ev’rythin’ it wouldn’t be this way;
Though Thatchers dead, her policies live on to this day.

Gawd save us from the throwbacks of the lackey Tory pack.
Thatcher’s gang puts paid to all our efforts to turn back.

Soon I’m gonna exercise my democratic right
to say which side I wanna win a parliamentary fight.
Let’s chuck out all the Tories and ignore the libby dems,
whose opportunist antics in’t meant for us, but them.

The single issue Brexit party’s dodgy to the core,
and UKIP’s stingy racism’s a stance that I abhor,
and while I is impressed by our Jeremy’s ideals
them blue-striped Blairites in the pack is jammin’ up the wheels.

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

So you see there’s several parties takin’ part in this ‘ere race
from left to right to centre and a heap o’ about-face,
but the planet needs some lovin’ care as we all ‘ave seen,
so on the 12th December I’ll be voting Green.

 

©Jane Paterson Basil

Jigsaw

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I try to forget you
but when rain falls, I envisage you
clutched in a doorway
shivering in worn clothes
cold water leaking through gaping trainers, hunger
gripping your veins as you grope
with stolen or broken phones, hoping
to gain the sick trick of a fix.

I try to blank the grim movie
but my thoughts rebel, and now
you’re crunched in a torn sleeping bag
beneath a bridge, slow-smooched by the drugs
which stain your life-blood.

By day and by night, and as seasons change
I try to cast you from my mind
but a phantom breeze blows, exposing
the gap you left, flaying my flesh
in places where tiny arms once wrapped
snug around my neck, squeezing like only I
could save you from some nameless flood, where
eager nose nuzzled skin, where your head
nestled flush against the inverse curve
between my throat and left ear
as if we were matched components
of a jigsaw puzzle.

Now a piece of this puzzle is missing,
and I don’t know how long ago
I lost you.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Distance Between

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Son,
if time was a kindly two-way lane
I’d turn my laden truck around and speed toward the East,
blanking the maggoty road-kill that festers yet
on the tracks of your pickled yesteryears

your needle pricks
your blood and spit
your flinging tantrums
bunching fists
stealthy falsehoods
blatant tricks
the wars you fought with phonic swords fast-honed on flowing tears;
your armies marched to split my walls
which let in gales of filth and fear
leaving me in defeat
with nothing to eat but the waste from the streets.
You grinned while I choked on the gruesome mince
as if I was having a treat
but your smile couldn’t hide the spin of your mind
or the pit beneath your feet

driving in a straight line until your skin is smooth,
accelerating to let my lorry leap the fall,
then lifting my toes for the peaks of the show.

Never leaving the road,
I would pursue my goal
until I nestled the warm weight of my youngest child,
you, my only son,
your arms enveloping my neck,
fresh-formed fingers hooking my hair,
finding my ear lobes,
nose pressing my throat,
your caress needy,
greedy
like a thief or a breast-fed cub,
your possessive caress
enfolding me
in that heavenly rush
of motherly
love.

Your caress,
your sweet, owning caress
would be my destination,
and the things I know
would sink in an ocean of parental ecstasy.

But time is not a two-way lane;
it’s a taut chain that leads forward
to obscurity, obliterating diamonds in its wake.
If I concentrate
I can synthesise a fleeting sensation of the elation
brought by each childish embrace;
a hint of silver that glitters
beneath the skin of a silted stream,
yet I cannot feel your breath on my neck
or the texture
of your skin warming mine,
and linear time
has no way to erase
the mistakes of the distance between.


My son is currently banished from my life, but I hold him in my heart. I will not capitulate and I will forge forward in life, but I grieve for him and hope that one day he will return to the family that loves him.


©Jane Paterson Basil

The Last Laugh

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I got a soggy dog-lick-kiss, breakfast on a tray
with the dreaded birthday sentence: Fifty years today.
Gifts enshrined in angry bills, ring box on a tin can,
and on the bed beside me, my oh, so funny man.

I wouldn’t touch my breakfast; the tea was weak and cold,
the bread was stale, the marmalade thickly furred with mould.
I unwrapped all the presents; fake poo and inked perfume,
I threw aside a birthday card, then marched out of the room.

He chased me to the kitchen; he knelt on knobbly knees
to offer me the ring box, said: Please don’t be a tease.
He looked so hurt and serious I thought he was sincere.
I’m glad I chose to take it, or he would still be here.

I carefully prised it open, expecting glittery bling,
but in that stupid jewellery box there was no diamond ring;
no long-denied proposal, no promise from my champ –
curled amidst the velvet was a grubby postage stamp.

I glared at him in fury, but he waved my rage away,
and laughing shrilly, said to me: It’s for a holiday.
Climb into this box, I’ll add the stamp and the address
of any destination, North, South, East or West.

It might be midlife crisis, but I’m weary of his humour;
I wished a heart attack on him, or a most aggressive tumour,
so feeling thus disgruntled, I shot him through the head.
He’s curled up in an outsize box, not joking now he’s dead.

I’m posting him to Timbuctoo, with no return address,
So I will never get him back, and I’ll suffer no redress.
It’s funny what you think of, when you scrub a bloody floor,
kitchen units and two windows, one kitten and a door:

We met on Friday the thirteenth, an unlucky day for me,
but the thirteenth has returned; how unlucky now is he!
I don’t regret the past, and there’s something I will miss;
I’d like to give him one last breath and see him laugh at this.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Written for Three Things Challenge: thirteen, midlife crisis, past

©Jane Paterson Basil

Stiff Upper Lip

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This is your conscience speaking;

I know you feel
like flaying the next-door fiend,
leaving her festering in a smelly heap, to the applause
of almost every tenant on these three floors,

and you fantasise
about an unacceptable, inconceivable set-up with the bed-eyed,
dread-locked sex god you’re forever ogling
in the second-hand shop.

I realise you recently considered
ripping off your jeans and summer vest in the hey-day high street,
screaming “ I hear you knocking but you can’t come in”,
then running away, giggling.

and you are tempted
to tell that frosty screw what her silly victim –
her lily-livered excuse for a libertine loser – plotted to do
to you when she was at bingo, sandwiching his confused pseudo-love
between the pages of a detailed medical dictionary, as if
each irritating phrase was a ribbon-wrapped gift, every
trumped-up twitch and flickering heart beat a treat;
and yet he knew you didn’t want to swim
in anyone’s swan song, let alone
sink through his forlorn
funeral tune.

I understand
that – until you did it – you might think it funny
to cut off your extremities and wiggle your stumps,
singing “Look, no hands,
and no feet, either”,

and you have been dying
to tip your wardrobe through the window, crying, “look – it can fly”,
wait for the smashing crash to attract the neighbours’ attention,
then yell, “and so can I”,
and try.

It’s true that their lives are dull,
and it would give those old folks a thrill
to see your blood churning the earth into rusty mud
to feed the geriatric rose bushes,
but don’t.

This
is your conscience speaking, old bean;
don’t do any of the above – let us not forget
one is British; such activities are simply not cricket.
Extend your stiff upper lip; use it
to lift a kettle, then settle down
with a nice cup of tea.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Daughters of Eve

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WARNING: ADULT CONTENT… I got a bit carried away. If you expect to be offended, close your eyes to the sections printed to the right side of the page, in RED. They are not  essential components of the poem.

I am the spirit of a Biblical metaphor,
raised beneath a celibate sky,
nourished by fertile dirt’s clean creations,
nurtured by trees whose lenient branches
were cradles that rocked me, and whose growing leaves
gave glorious shade against the noon-tide haze. Nature
was my nursery, my playground, my adventure trail,
my safe, serene haven, a concert hall
where birds, conducted by seasons and sun
sang heavenly songs for me, to the backing
of ticking crickets and buzzing bees.
This was my Eden.

Since the original sentencing, endless generations have meekly bled away their weeping days, bones brittling  and crumbling away, juices sinking into the speckled detritus of history. Those with time and rage enough have fought for truth, yet still, by dint of my sex, I stand accused by those who would rule and defile me.

I offer you my defence:

It was another who plucked the fruit, not I.

I beg you to see that I had a wholesome balance and bounteous range of flavours within reach. Had I felt the desire for more variety, I expect there was a plentiful supply of untried legal foods in the nethermost regions of Eden.

The world was new; sophisticated tricks
to trap a virgin girl
had not yet been invented.
No budding rose, no dainty sweets to tempt my tongue,
no ardent vows or subtle wheedling
led me to my fall.
Neither did I simper or whisper lewdly wicked words
in man’s unyielding ear, or plot in any way
to take heart or prick as jewellery or trinket.
I did not know the form reflected in man’s eyes
was no more romping child but nubile wench,
until the moment that he grabbed me, forced my jaws apart.
and made me swallow. Even as I choked and retched,
failing to eject the stinking fruit,
he threw me to the forest floor
and roughly ravaged me, injecting me
with toxic stench that stole from me
the world that I held dear.

It was man who separated me from Eden.
Now he slyly lays the blame on Eve.

The judge glances down. Glossy prints display scars on sickened flesh. Documents testify to my ruptured hymen, but where is the record of the lies repeated since the dawn of creation, and what care has he for my suffering mind? I wait for the inevitable hoodwinking protestations.

Licking his lips, he looks my way, then promptly dismisses my pain. He claims circumstantial evidence, or says that I alone am to blame, citing historical temptresses, his finger pointing as he intones felonious accusations of the lascivious nature of all females, dating from Eve’s days.

His Honour’s cock
ticks out a seashore rhythm of lust, a foaming
hot blood throb concealed beneath His Honourably billowing gown.
A thickness of phlegm
sits heavy on his chest. A quick cough
dislodges it; affording him
a viscous dewdrop of pleasure, no more.
There are bigger things to shift, he thinks. His hidden hand
inches
toward the swelling itch. Fiddles. Just
a tickle of anticipation
which must later lead to a drawn out, ecstatic
scratch.
He visualises phallic fungi
thrusting capped heads through the thin throats
of calla lilies, shredding delicate membranes,
while his sensitive finger
gently strokes,
his finger, so slim,
so
similar
to a choir boy’s…
oh, yes.. A choir…
boy’s…
budding

From the witness stand, I interrupt
his surreptitious clutching.

I had the perfection of Eden, I say.
I had the wonder of childhood.
How could I dream of anything else?

Behind the bench,
the judge
massages
his groin
just…

just
a
little…

just a little…

more.

He regains self-control, postponing his goal until he’s alone. Gone are the golden days of summoning young scraps of flesh that would not dare threaten his authority or breathe a word of his greedily inflicted sadism. But he must not yet dwell on the tears. He must refrain from picturing so many pitiful pairs of defeated legs which limped so prettily away. It would only increase the emergency of release.

Soon he’ll be free to bolt his door, and summon every supreme detail.

He takes pains to concentrate, to focus
on closing the case.

Raising his gavel, he lets it slam.
He calls for order and proclaims the witness
guilty again.

Guilty of inciting rape.
Guilty of consuming the fruit.
Guilty of causing the fall.

Guilty down to my chromosomes.

.

That’s it, folks. Time to drop the subject…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Being There

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It is a collage this week. Writers will connect to it easily.

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So, let the fingers align to imagination, and bang on the keyboard. The format can be a a story/poem/rant/anecdotes/journalistic coverage of events/ reflections as usual.
Pour out, and let it flow ….


Flipping in long grass,
skipping, leap-frogging, cartwheeling over stiles,
feet so fleet it feels like flying,
flopping to sit cross-legged on fragrant nature’s floor.
Grass stained shorts. Grubby fingernails
cut careful slits through slim daisy stems.
Threading, making chains to dangle from supple neck.
Carefree sunshine and family love.

Once, this was me.

Breasts swelling, bursting
from a shock-horror bra, hips curving,
and worse, a monthly sticky thing that hurts,
which Grandma calls the curse.
Father stealing small licks to assuage the tip
of his hunger.
Mother loving, supporting
this poor little changeling.

Feeling dirty. filthy images of hot flesh slapping,
moist organs fitting,
slipping wetly together. Precocious hormones
that battle against desire,
hermaphrodite side crying “Let me
be a child”,
yet all the while learning the wanton game.

A teen with a siren’s face,
miming like a pro. Anything goes,
as long as it excludes loosening her clothes.
No sense of danger, blindly embracing
masked neighbour that ambles her way.

Rape and beatings, beatings and rape.
burst head, bleeding flesh, blurred vision,
cigarette burns, fractured limbs, bruises
that cannot be hidden. Torn wings
of a butterfly, entrenched in threats
that he may fulfil.
“I will kill”, he says.
“I will
kill
your family,
I will kill them if you hide from me.”

Weeping admission. Gentle assistance.
A groggy leap from the sizzling grill, only to slip
into spinning with trolls, a racy dance of ring-a-ring-o’-roses,
taking risks to prove she’s ahead of the game,
trying to hide her confusion and pain,
all of it fake, played out in vain.

Atishoo, atishoo,
she’s falling again.

Learning to stand,
wooing and wedding a kindly man,
only to fling him away.
To add to mistakes and shame,
the new man she catches, rapes her brain.
Years of fighting to gain control,
while the monster hints that she’s going insane
tripping and falling and failing again. Flailing.

An ill-planned, yet helpful escape.

Too late, she examines the damage.
Trailing her feet along a rough cloister, wrought
from life’s ill-conceived choices.
To the right, bright window panes reveal smiling faces.
Hands wave. She stretches her arms,
but can’t reach.
To her left, dust, rubble, crumbling walls.
Jagged scraps from her womb bear witness to her weakness, grimacing
as they juggle with jesters and thieves,
screeching to be healed.

A mouth opens.
A silent scream struggles out, to ricochet
off the ceiling. She swallows it in one.
It crushes her lungs.

“Please let me breathe.”

Rising up. Her children will not
be defeated by their demons.
Whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes…

This, too, was me.

A lone woman,
wizened by a boxed-up heap of experience,
sits in a high backed chair,
watching trees. The leaves expand into a screen
which conceals iniquity.
From her position, she can see
a clean horizon, distant meadows, whirling angels
that create sustainable energy, life-giving earth,
acres of sky.
Sometimes it rains,
but the sun soon breaks through.
When tears threaten, she strokes the jagged splits
that ripped deep through her skin, and feels
smooth silver strings weld and heal.
She is satisfied.
At night, she catches her reflection in the glass.
The allure that shaped her darker days
has faded with age.
Now, she is beautiful.

This woman is me.

.

Any life which stretches to reasonable longevity is like a massive chunk of quartz, cut from rock. Depending on the angle and brightness of the light, and on where you are standing, different facets can are visible. Also, the viewer approaches the quartz with his own pre-conceptions, interests and focus to detail. Furthermore, our aspects can change over time – even in the blink of an eye. This is one story of my life,  but – apart from the closing stanza – I displayed it from the dark side of the moon. I have many happy memories.

… an afterthought; reading through this longwinded poem, I learnt a horrifying new fact about my past – a detail that was staring me in the face, and yet I didn’t see it. While it won’t harm my emotions too much, I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it, but I mention it because, even viewed through the muddiest of lights, its still possible to spot new facets

Thanks go to Reena, for the inspiration.
©Jane Paterson

The Man who Wanted to Save the World

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A seething gang of teens surrounds him,
mocking, calling him names,
Stealing his concentration,
but he will not be defeated; he’s here
to save the world.

Catcalls, insults and derision
almost overwhelm the voices in his head.
He will not listen; they are sent
to deflect him from his divine duty
to save the world.

He strains to hear the angel’s voice,
but the rudeness intrudes,
diluting essential information –
instructions which he is convinced
will save the world.

A Sainsburys receipt floats past his feet,
its jumbled numbers will reveal
a secret code for him alone,
he who was selected by the highest deity
to save the world.

As the youths close in, he strikes out,
screaming, spittle flying from his mouth,
splattering an angry face. Someone cries out
“He’s just a crazy crank, a tramp. Nobody will care.
Let’s have him, lads.”

A slip of paper escapes from a slack hand
to land in a spreading pool of blood. Absorbing the gore,
its empty message blurs as tears forget to fall
for the man who failed
to save the world.

Image supplied by Pixabay.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Gravity

It’s like an egg breaking inside your head;
a sudden flood that controls your mind, telling you
to run to the window and dive
down
down
down
to the soulless ground below.
In the instant before your thoughts recover,
you move across the room, ready
to turn your eggy impulse into messy reality.

Out of step with the moment, you feel
the shock of the drop forcing you
to release all oxygen from your lungs, though you want
to draw a greedy last gasp of cool air before
the end… and then you realise
it hasn’t happened yet.

Grasping for sanity, you clutch the back of a dining chair.
You shudder, knowing how close it was this time,
and you wonder, had you jumped,
how desperately would you regret your imminent death
in the few seconds before the concrete smashed your skull to shreds,
and would those seconds stretch
into eternity?

©Jane Paterson Basil